ye olde stinking rose….

today i dug up the 70 or 80 garlic bulbs after letting them dry out for a week or so.  i’ve hung them to cure for another week, or longer,  as we have a few showers on the way.   the air is definitely redolent with their sweet aroma.

on other fronts, the bush beans are ready, peas picked and frozen and my onions are only days away from harvesting.

we’ve been busy drying 18 kilo of cherries and will get 9 kilo of blueberries for freezing in 2 days.  we’re still picking about a litre or more of raspberries every second day with many days left to go.

stinking rose

still to come: carrots, tomatoes, leeks and celery.



fava beans and more…

today we harvested the fava beans before the sun got too hot!  after shelling we had almost 5 kilo of beans ready to blanch and freeze.  the garlic is in the dry down stage (no watering till the leaves are brown) we’ll pull it at the end of July as well as the spanish onions which are quite plump so early in the season.fava beans

we’re finding it hard to keep up with raspberries, picking a litre or more every second day. same for the carrots,  i planted three varieties of carrots! …what was i thinking?   more than we’ll ever consume.

most of the fennel has been picked and eaten, something that i will grow more of next year.  like the carrots, there is a bumper crop of  beets so we’ll be  busy preserving those soon. turnips and kohlrabi are a hit on the bbq  along with new potatoes (grown in barrels).

the tomatoes are starting to shape up and it looks like we’ll have a great first crop of bush beans: green and yellow. the hard storage onions will keep us all winter and more if i can keep them going. the only disappointment this year has been the peas and the red onions, both slow to start and poor overall growth – one small harvest of peas and another to come at the end of this week.   i will try a second planting of the peas in early august for a fall harvest.


first harvest, 2014

grillgrilled veggies tonight!  this is the first significant harvest for 2014 which is shaping up as a very bountiful year.  this picking includes: green onions, spanish onion, fennel, beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, kohlrabi and turnip.  i’ll season some and others just a soak in olive oil to keep their unique flavour on top.  my partner is preparing beef stuffed with garlic (also from the garden) for the rotisserie. early this morning he was busy picking raspberries for desert.  life is good!

a garden is…

Recently, a pleasant and wellmeaning gentleman came to see my garden for a « beautiful gardens » event sponsored by the local paper.  Though flattered to be considered, my garden is still too young for exposure to the wider world.

After his too brief visit I got to thinking on some of his comments and what makes a garden beautiful.  My own small garden  is a bit of a jumble, haphazard in design yet, for me, has a sense of being comfortable, like an old slipper.

My visitor told me of other gardens he’d visited, leaving me with the impression that his view of a garden must conform to some set of arbitrary requirements, not too tight, not too busy, not this, not that…and so on.  I wondered what he thought of my garden?  He had stood in one spot on the patio and never moved. He’ll never know of the small path leading to a fruit laden fig tree that shades a small fern garden, or the raised beds ready for harvest down the « dark side » of our house or the mix of perennials, tomatoes and corn, in the front garden.   How can you feel a garden if you don’t walk through it, touch the plants, release the sweet fragrance of lavender or a rose, or the feel the lightness of a leaning stem weighed down by blossoms.

I have a friend who was a master gardener, her yard is tiny, yet crowded with a wild abandon, if it grows, I suspect she must plant it.  A walk through her yard is as if you’ve entered into a magical cornucopia of texture, colour and scents.

My visitor, I suspect, would not have liked it. The garden he seemed to have enjoyed least was « too crowded » for him « too much »  is what he said.  I think I would relished this « too much » garden.  not to be too judgemental, a formal garden has its place and done well is as inviting and relaxing as any other, but it must feel as though you are welcome!

In my garden, too much is still not enough!  I want to experiment, create islands of  colour or texture and secret pockets that surprise even me as they evolve and mature.  Then, if need be, dig it up and start again.

Our town is a truly a charmed community, embraced by mountains and rivers, with a mild west coast climate that encourages adventurous gardeners to indulge in a long growing season.   Back alleys provide a surreptitious view into many amazing gardens, often more interesting than those in front. For me, the standout gardens are the ones where plants are given room to spill over and mould the garden as though the gardener had not interfered.

So, if you’re out judging gardens, remember, like us – they come in all shapes and sizes, some more loved than others.


growing pond


more raised bed and other changes

during january and february i expanded the garden, adding new fence sections, which required  a new flower bed to park all the transplants.

poor max! he has less space to play.   there are now 13 raised bed or about about 37 square metres of space. in february 1 planted 12 metres of peas, alas it was not  good timing and have replanted due to a hard frost shortly after seeding and an unexpected dump of snow.

asparagus! i’ve built a new bed outside of the main garden  2.5 metre x 1 metre laired with several inches of manure for a foundation.

my great score of blueberries has been planted along with gooseberry bushes and the honeysuckle.

redofence redo now


for rae

a foray into the past – pardon the pun.

my friend rae has been rather insistent that i get my act together and use the blog.   rae, whom i’ve known for about 30 years (since she was very very young) supplied me with all the tulips in my garden…about a 100!    so, i’ll do a bit of backward forward and put up a few post starting from spring until now, june, 2014

M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 P1 R4

mea culpa

yup, i’m a slacker at maintaining this blog!  a lot has happened in the garden and though not reluctant to share, i question the purpose and my ego in maintaining it.   if you follow, thanks, i’ll try and keep it a bit more current.

on a more interesting note these picture of a small flock of western tanagers at my pond’s waterfall make the project worthwhile.  about six of them spent 15 minutes drinking, preening and squabbling.

wt1 wt2 wt3 wt4 wt5

spring is in the air…

ghsnowit has been a while since tracking my efforts in the garden.  over the course of the winter, i built a lean-to greenhouse against my shed, rearranged the garden layout for more raised veggie beds, and started the design of flower beds and more in the back yard.

the greenhouse was the biggest undertaking, particularly with my limited carpentry skills and being useless with a level:). thanks to the always generous neighbours i was able to use double glazed glass in the front and sides with only a couple of small areas covered in plastic.  i used clear corrugated pvc for the roof.  i’ve recently added two shelving units and put in lighting and a 50 x 120 cm heat pad and a small air heater.

only lettuce and radishes are growing for now…kind of cool to see though.  on the labour front, the new cedar fence section done, sod lifted and some transplants completed, however,  the soil is frozen in spots so have to hold back on most plant moves, including bulbs, herbs and too many columbine.

part of the new garden includes an asparagus bed and more berry bushes. i was lucky to score a half-dozen blueberry plants for $3 each. to round out the berries,  i bought  two gooseberry bushes and threw a climbing hydrangea.  now for the digging.  please stand by…

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tomato sauce…

the taste of summer in january!  priceless.

yesterday we roasted another 40 pounds of tomatoes from our summer harvest. today we put it through the food mill to make sauce.  so tasty with garlic, olive oil, herbs and seasoning.  my partner  is busy preparing  kidney beans we grew, for a large batch of chill,  which will go in the freezer. the only thing not from the garden is the roast beef!  if i had a few acres that would be home-grown too:)

to top the day off, tony, our neighbour dropped off a couple of kilo of home-made smoked italian sausage…i think it’s a reward for all the smoke that comes our way…kidding, he’s just a nice guy.  i had one for lunch simmered in tomato sauce…heaven!

bon appetit


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our first fig!

…actually our only fig:)

our neighbour, tony,  gave us a young fig tree last year which successfully rooted.  alas it produced only one fig this year but promises greater abundance next year as it has several immature figs spread about its branches.

i split it 50/50 with my partner.  it was delicious.  happily,  tony’s wife dora gives us enough of theirs to keep us content.

lone fig for2013
lone fig for 2013